Studying for the GRE can be a daunting experience, but I’m sure you have heard by now one of the best ways to learn is to take online practice tests that resemble the actual GRE. What better way to do that than use tests from ETS, the makers of the GRE?
We decided to review the ETS GRE PowerPrep materials to see if they were a good option for using actual practice tests to improve your GRE score. Keep reading to find out if this is a good option for you.
What Is GRE PowerPrep?
GRE PowerPrep is a series of online practice tests created by ETS, the same company that makes and administers the GRE. They offer 3 packages that contain different tools, tests, and price ranges.
They are provided online under the same conditions as the actual GRE test, so students can feel real test conditions and questions.
While these practice tests will reveal the answers and sometimes offer a quick explanation, they do not offer any actual test prep or test prep course options.
We think the GRE PowerPrep packages should be used in conjunction with additional GRE prep materials like a prep course or GRE prep book.
Practice Test Highlights
One of the best benefits of the GRE PowerPrep practice tests is the first 2 packages are free as long as you register on the website. You will have access to the PowerPrep Test Preview Tool and the PowerPrep Online version. Both of these tests offer tools to ace the GRE.
This GRE prep tool is useful since it is created by the same people who make the actual GRE. It is handy to practice using real GRE tests and questions under timed conditions. Taking one of the PowerPrep tests beforehand can help eliminate pre-test jitters.
- 2 types of PowerPrep are free
- Contains real GRE questions
- Get your score right away
- Computer-based test-like conditions
- No prep course
- No prep workbooks or how-to guides
3 Things You Need To Know
1. PowerPrep Test Preview Tool
This test prep tool is free if you sign up for an ETS account. It is best for people who want to familiarize themselves with the test beforehand. It can show you how to work the different features such as navigating the questions, using the on-screen calculator, and skipping questions to work on later.
This PowerPrep package includes 2 analytical writing tasks, 7 verbal reasoning questions, and 11 quantitive reasoning questions. At the end of the test preview, you will only receive an answer key for the quantitative and verbal sections. This option is free, so all students should use it as a simple stepping stone to further studying.
Related GRE Prep Courses:
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- The Manhattan GRE Strategy Guide: Who Should Buy This?
2. PowerPrep Online
This is the next level for the PowerPrep online GRE practice. This package is also free, so we recommend everyone to use this tool to their advantage. It includes 2 free full-length GRE practice tests, which you can take under timed conditions. You can take the first test under untimed conditions if you’d like.
You will receive scores on the verbal and quantitative sections immediately. ETS will give you a score report and a score on the analytical writing portion of the GRE.
3. PowerPrep Plus Online
This is the top-tier offering from PowerPrep. It features 3 additional full-length GRE practice tests that cost $39.95 each. You will receive a score report within minutes for the exam's quantitative, vernal, and analytical writing sections. You will get a full-length explanation of the correct answers to each GRE practice problem.
The analytical writing portion will be scored with reader commentary. You’ll also get problem-solving strategies for each question and the difficulty level.
Downsides Of PowerPrep
The one downside to the PowerPrep packages from ETS is the top-tier one can be quite expensive for each additional practice test. The PowerPrep Test Preview Tool and PowerPrep Online are completely free, so we think they are worth it for students to complement other materials.
Real Student Results from Taking the ETS GRE Test Powerprep Course
We wanted to find out whether students who took the ETS GRE Powerprep course saw a real improvement in their GRE test scores.
Accordingly, we had students take a GRE prep test before and after taking the ETS GRE Powerprep course. We obtained each student’s Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning results from each test and compared them to determine a percentage improvement.
Although students saw their GRE test scores increase after completing the ETS GRE Powerprep course, their percentage improvement in test scores was small. For example, one student achieved only a 13.5% improvement in score, while another student achieved less than a 4% improvement.
How Accurate Is The PowerPrep GRE VS. The Real Thing?
It is important to know how ready you are for the official GRE. A prep test can help you with that, of course, if it's accurate. E.g., if it is harder than the real thing, your confidence might be decreased, affecting your performance on the exam.
To see how well the PowerPrep predicted results held up against the real GRE, we decided to do an experiment.
Six students who were preparing for GRE using PowerPrep noted the scores they had on the prep test and did the same thing with their scores on the real GRE.
Here is what we got when we compared their results:
The results show that the PowerPrep is quite accurate when it comes to the real GRE.
Still, it seems it was a bit harder than the official exam, especially the Verbal part, where many students had fewer points.
Should I only use the PowerPrep online materials to study for the GRE?
No, you should use the PowerPrep study materials as a supplement to additional study materials such as a GRE book or prep course.
How long will I have access to the GRE practice tests?
You will have access to each test for 90 days after you first access it.
Can I pause and resume the test later?
Yes, ETS has implemented a save and quit function to pause the test and the timer and come back later.
Can I reset the test?
No, you cannot reset the practice tests. You can save it, but once you start it, you must complete it.
How many times can I take the GRE PowerPrep tests?
You can take each test only once. You may order additional tests you can take under timed conditions.
Will my scores be displayed after the test?
Yes, for the PowerPrep Online and PowerPrep Plus Online, you will receive your scores in a score report at the end of the practice test. You will receive an answer key for the PowerPrep Test Preview Tool, which you can use to grade your exam yourself.
Will my essay be graded?
Yes, for the PowerPrep Online module, you will receive a score on your analytical writing essay after it is graded. On the PowerPrep Plus Online module, you will receive your essay score immediately.
Is GRE PowerPrep A Good Practice Test Package?
After our research on PowerPrep, we think it’s a good option for people interested in free practice tests. PowerPrep was created by ETS, which means the practice tests will be as close to the real GRE as possible.
However, we recommend taking a GRE prep course, such as Magoosh, instead of buying the PowerPrep Online Plus option. Magoosh offers practice tests and actual test prep by experts. We also like how Magoosh provides an option for customizable study plans.
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